[AAACE-NLA] Correction to Time to Try Adult Education>
tsticht at znet.com
tsticht at znet.com
Fri Jun 25 18:56:47 EDT 2010
Please post this corrected version instead of the one I sent earlier.
Thanks, Tom Sticht
June 25, 2010
Time to Try Adult Education?
International Consultant in Adult Education
A June 2010 article by Andrew Coulson (The CATO Institute) presents data
indicating that employment in public schools almost doubled from 1970 to
2010. Two-thirds of this increase in school personnel was for more teachers
and teacher aides. The rest was for administrators and other support
The almost 100 percent growth in public school personnel during the years
from 1970 to 2010 was accompanied by just 7 percent growth in enrollments
in the public schools. Total cost of educating a child during the K-12
years, in constant 2009 dollars, went from around $40,000 in 1970 to almost
$150,000 in 2009.
Despite these huge increases in educational personnel and cost of providing
the K-12 education, during the period from 1970 through 2007 reading and
mathematics scores of 17-year-olds on the National Assessment of
Educational Progress (NAEP) stayed flat, while from 1970 to 2000 science
Other research by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) of
the U. S. Department of Education indicates that, during the same 30+
period of time that Coulson includes in his work, childrens scores on the
NAEP reading tests for 13- and 17-year-olds increased as parents education
level increased. Children whose parents had less than a high school
education scored below those whose parents had graduated from high school,
and the latter scored lower than those whose parents had education beyond
But it is not only parents education level that influences their childrens
school achievement. In 2004 in the United Kingdom, Feinstein, Duckworth, &
Sabates (Center for Research on the Wider Benefits of Learning in London)
reported research indicating that " Parental beliefs, values, aspirations
are very important, as is parental well-being.
skills in terms of warmth, discipline and educational behaviours are all
major factors in the formation of school success. ... We conclude that the
intergenerational transmission of educational success is a key element in
equality of opportunity. There are substantial benefits of education that
accrue to individuals and society in terms of what education enables
parents to pass on to their children."
In November 2005 the REFLECT magazine of the National Institute for Adult
and Continuing Education (NIACE) in the UK included an article by John
Bynner and Samantha Parsons, entitled "New light on literacy and numeracy."
In their research they found that parents basic skills were related to
their childrens achievement in literacy and numeracy and stated, "Although
much more penetrating analysis will be needed to understand the basis of
intergenerational skill transfer, it seems that parent literacy and
numeracy is an important part of it, especially in the case of parents
whose skills are at the lowest levels."
Given the US data above showing that better educated adults produce children
who achieve better all the way through the K-12 school system and into
adulthood, the data from the UK showing that parental beliefs, values,
etc., and basic skills (reading, mathematics) are instrumental in
increasing the educational achievement of their children, one may question
the wisdom of the reductions (sometimes complete elimination) in adult
education taking place in various states throughout the nation, and the
paucity of funding through the federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA),
Title 2: Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA).
Federal and state funds combined provide on average less than $850 per
enrollee, less than one tenth of average expenditures for a K-12 child in a
year, while the Adult Education and Literacy System (AELS) is expected to
educate adults from as low as the 2nd grade reading level up to where
they can meet college entrance standards!
Ironically, at the end of the decade, it was announced that the National
Institute for Literacy (NIFL), which was established in the early 1990s to
promote adult literacy education, is scheduled to be disestablished at the
end of September, 2010.
Presently the federal government seeks tens of billions of dollars more for
the K-12 public school system, while at the same time cutting budgets for
adult education and family literacy programs that help adults learn to
read, compute, and parent better. Perhaps some day, policymakers will pay
attention to the data they have paid for for the last 30+ years and realize
that they do a disservice to children by trying to educate them while
letting their parents reside at the bottom of the educational and economic
distribution of the land.
By their own data it should be clear to policymakers that an investment in
adult education is one of the best means to improve the educational
achievement of children. Do we need another 30+ years of data to get this
tsticht at aznet.net
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